Following the recapture of Aleppo by loyalist forces, the whole world’s attention has again turned to the future of Syria and its Arab majority. Worker’s Spatula, anxious to understand the revolutionary prospects for our Arab brothers and sisters, immediately sought out analysis from the world centre of leftist solidarity with “the Syrian Revolution”.
Naturally, this was not Beirut, Gaza City, Bethlehem, Istanbul, or Athens.
One of our New York correspondents sat down with two young and glamorous local Trotskyists in a posh café near NYU in Manhattan to chat about the horrors of war and the plight of the Arab people in Syria in a relaxed atmosphere to the magnificent taste of overpriced but frankly delicious coffee.
WS: So, you’re Trots?
A: Well… we hate Stalin.
WS: Do tell.
B: We think Trotsky was better than Stalin, but we support the thesis that after Stalin seized power, the Soviet Union became a capitalist state potentially worse than western capitalism, because Stalin.
WS: Uh-huh. And you guys support the Syrian Revolution?
B: Mos’ def.
WS: Cool. What exactly are the main dynamics of the revolution at this point, and who are its main forces?
A: …well, you know, the Syrian people and shit.
B: Yeah, you know, all the forces opposed to the murderous Assad regime and the foreign stooges supporting it, like Hizbullah, Iran and of course Russia.
WS: So you’re saying al-Nusra, ISIS and other murderous takfiri groups are carrying out a national democratic revolution on behalf of “the Syrian people”?
A: No, no, not ISIS!
B: We’re not Sparts!
WS: So, what about al-Nusra?
B: They changed their name. I wasn’t sure if they were part of the revolution before, but now, since they changed their name, I guess they are.
WS: Okay. In other words, you consider takfiri groups who brutally slaughter anyone not sharing their ultra-specific brand of Sunnism to be a revolutionary force in Syria, that’s good to know.
A: Man, come on. They’re not revolutionary when they’re cutting children’s throats. We’d never claim that. They’re only revolutionary when they are fighting against the murderous Assad regime, because it kills children.
WS: Oh, I see. Well, that’s a relief.
B: Well, also, I don’t think they’re “revolutionary” per se…
WS: Do you mean objectively or subjectively?
A: Don’t answer that, it’s a Stalinist trick.
B: Look, there was a revolution against Assad a few years ago, and we have to defend that revolution, to which Assad’s continued personal existence is the main obstacle. There are some folks left who are genuinely good, but they have no influence. But all of this is Assad’s fault; get rid of Assad, and the national democratic revolution will return.
WS: Just like in Iraq.
WS: Right, so, just to summarise the main points here, you would argue that there was:
1) a revolution against Assad that had to be supported; but there is
2) no such revolutionary dynamic at present. Yet,
3) you still support anyone against Assad, because of said revolution.
In other words, as you supported the Red Army under Trotsky’s leadership, yet claim that there was no longer a revolution with Stalin’s rise to power – you would still support Stalin from 1928 onwards, because there was some revolution you do support to which Stalin could connect himself, have I got all that right?
A: What kind of tankie are you? I thought you said Assad was Stalin?
B: I’ll go get some more coffee…